Challenge Based Learning

Engage, Investigate, Act

Challenge Based Learning is a framework for learning while solving real-world challenges. The framework fuels collaboration to identify big ideas, ask thoughtful questions, and identify, investigate, and solve challenges. Challenge Based Learning helps learners gain deep subject area knowledge and develop the skills necessary to thrive in an ever-changing world. 

The Challenge Based Learning framework is divided into three interconnected phases: Engage, Investigate and Act. Each phase includes activities that prepare learners to move to the next phase. Within each phases there are opportunities for mini-investigation cycles, and if necessary, a return to an earlier phase. Supporting the entire process is an ongoing process of documentation, reflection, and sharing.

How Teachers Use Challenge Based Learning 

Challenge Based Learning invites teachers to become collaborators in learning who leverage the power of students, seek new knowledge alongside students, and model positive habits of mind and new ways of thinking and learning. 

In a traditional learning approach, content is presented at a preset pace, learning activities are prescribed without student input, and predetermined outputs are accepted as the sole evidence of learning. In Challenge Based Learning, however, teachers provide space and time for students to try new things, make mistakes, follow false paths, and correct their course. Teachers do not need to know all of the information ahead of time; instead, they must be willing to work alongside students to find the answers.

How you can support students in their Challenge Based Learning process:

  • Model the role of teacher-learner by actively participating in activities expected of your students. 
  • Provide time and space for students to learn and make mistakes through trial and error. 
  • Steer student learning by identifying the learning goals and curriculum standards that will help them keep the “larger picture” in mind. 
  • Build a network of support with peer educators who are implementing Challenge Based Learning in their classrooms.